325. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy) to Secretary of State Rusk 1


  • National Policy Paper for the Philippines

Attached (Tab B)2 for your approval is Part One (U.S. Policy) of the National Policy Paper on the Philippines. All agencies with a major interest in our relations with the Philippines have cleared this document.

The Paper points out that by almost every criterion for policy development, the Philippines constitutes an area of key interest of the US in Asia. While the Philippines since independence has achieved much, it again faces some very serious problems. In essence, the future depends on whether it can evolve within the next few years enough responsible and dynamic leadership to overcome the stagnation that has beset the country in recent years, and to bring about the economic growth required to keep pace with the population explosion.

Filipinos are, to an extent, coming to doubt the wisdom of our prescriptions for Philippine-American relations. The growth of Philippine nationalism is inevitable. We must ensure that we do not appear to oppose its legitimate expression, while taking steps calculated to keep it positive and constructive.

Our over-all objective as spelled out in this Paper is to preserve the Philippines as an independent and democratic nation, friendly to the US and maintaining a foreign and defense policy in general alignment with our own. The thrust of the strategy set forth in this Paper is to preserve for the longer range the best possible environment in which to protect and uphold those US interests which really count. Anachronistic positions, or those which in any case we cannot count on maintaining in the future, should be gradually abandoned.

In essence, over the next three to five years, the courses of action set forth in the Paper will:

promote motivated and dynamic Filipino leadership, which is dedicated to serve the Philippine national interest and which is convinced of the abiding interest of the US in the survival of a free and democratic Philippines;
persevere in helping Philippine efforts to achieve self-sustaining economic growth;
work toward a revised and modernized bilateral trade and investment relationship with the Philippines, in which the element of partnership replaces that of outworn special consideration or advantage for either side;
encourage and assist development of greater Philippine capabilities for external and especially for internal defense; and
seek to make the presence of our military bases more palatable and secure for the longer term.

Recommendation: 3

That you approve this National Policy Paper by signing the attached memorandum (Tab A) which will be incorporated into the Paper as a preface.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 1 PHIL–US. Secret. Drafted by Kattenburg on February 17 and cleared by Rostow.
  2. Neither Tab is printed.
  3. A note on the memorandum indicates that Rusk signed the National Policy Paper on the Philippines on March 3.